What you eat may be more important to the look and feel of your skin than what you put on it. Research shows that what you put into your body in the form of nutrients has a big impact on how your skin looks and feels. One critical nutrient found in foods like, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil but most abundantly in certain fish is omega-3 fatty acids. More and more research is piling up to support the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin.
How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin
Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential acids because the body needs them to maintain the health of the cell membrane, yet cannot produce it naturally. Our bodies rely on getting essential acids solely from our diet. Cell membranes not only act as a barrier to keep harmful substances out of the cell, but also to transport nutrients in and waste products out of it. The membrane is also what enhances the cells ability to retain water so that you have moist, soft supple skin cells that are more resistant to wrinkles.
Another way omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna (so called “oily” fish) are beneficial is to help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Insulin spikes from eating sugary, highly processed starchy foods, sun exposure and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke induce inflammation in the skin making it dry, flaky and red.
Additionally, according to a study published back in 2003 in “Carcinogenesis,” omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fish oil contain properties that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a compound in omega-3s, was shown to be especially beneficial in reducing sunburn and ultra-violet radiation induced skin breaks.
Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing is to eat foods rich in the omega-3 compounds EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid). A few of the foods that contain the largest amounts of these substances are:
- Fish –the cold-water or oily kind
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
- Chia seeds
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
- Canola oil
Unfortunately it is difficult to get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimum health through food alone. Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get the most beneficial amounts of omega-3s into your diet.
When shopping for a fish oil supplement be sure to read the label carefully and choose one with at least 30% EPA and DHA in it. Also, look for the kind labeled “non-fishy” aftertaste.
The benefits of omega-3 fish oils for skin are numerous, plus they benefit many other parts of the body reducing your risk of cardiac disease, joint inflammation and can even aid in weigh loss. Adding a fish oil supplement to your diet is a good idea if you would like to keep your skin looking and feeling younger and healthier.